When the kids and I started selling breads and other baked goodies and garden vegetables at our local farmer’s market a few years ago, our intention was to sell extra veggies from our garden (since I cannot control myself where planting is concerned, and always end up with much, much more than we can use!) and at the last moment, I stirred up a few batches of bread to fill out our table. My bunches of radishes and spinach and basil sold, all right, but people really got more excited about my homemade bread. There were no other vendors at the farmer’s market who sold bread, though there were several who sold garden produce.
So the next week, I made a few more batches of bread, and my daughters made some smaller goodies: fancy muffins and quick breads. They all sold well, too, along with my organically-raised spinach, lettuces, and radishes and other early vegetables from my garden.
Then my mom joined us with her practically perfect pies, her chewy cookies and her piece de resistance: glazed homemade donuts! Bam! Overnight we were known as the “bread ladies” and my garden produce, though it still sold, took backseat to our baked goods.
People line up every week for these babies: fresh homemade glazed donuts!
But that’s a whole ‘nother story. Hold the ‘phone, kids, because I’m going to share with you my own recipe for Broiled Flaxseed Country Bread. I used a broiled loaf recipe from a James Beard cookbook, added whole wheat flour and ground flaxseed, made a few other changes, and made it my own. It’s my best seller at our farmer’s market every summer, and it is the bread that people line up at our table early each week to buy. The first summer I made it, Matthew (our oldest) was still at home, and it was his favorite. That’s why I used to call it “Matthew’s Country Loaf.”
Now you can make it in your own kitchen! Here’s how:
- 3 T dry yeast
- 3 T coarse salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 cup ground flaxseeds, plus a handful of whole ones for sprinkling
- 3 c warm water
- 7 cups unbleached flour
- 7 cups (give or take) whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup oil
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg, separated
- I use my Bosch mixer to make this bread, but you can certainly do this by hand or even use another type of mixer. The Bosch cuts your kneading time down, though.
- Stir the yeast and the salt and the warm water all together in your mixer bowl.
- Add the ground flaxseeds, the unbleached flour, the oil, and the buttermilk. Separate the egg and throw the yolk in, and mix. (Save the white.)
- Turn the mixer on and add the whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball and begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Set the timer for 5 minutes and let the mixer knead the dough. If you are mixing it by hand, dump it out and knead by hand for at least 5 minutes.
- Remove to a buttered bowl and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough down, and divide into 6 pieces. Form into balls and place on two greased (and cornmeal-sprinkled) cookie sheets. Whisk the egg white with 1 Tb. water. Make a few slashes in each one with a sharp knife, and then paint with the egg white/water wash. Sprinkle with coarse salt and whole flaxseeds.
- Let loaves rise until nearly double.
- Turn on the broiler in your oven and slide the bread in. (Watch carefully as it will burn quickly!) When browned (about 2-3 minutes), exchange the pans so the bottom pan browns, also.
- After broiling, turn the oven to Bake at 375, and set your timer for 30 minutes. Bread is done when it is golden brown and is quite firm on the underside.
- Cool on racks, and if you can hold back the hordes of suddenly-hungry family members, slice when cool. Eat with softened butter.
If you try out this recipe, I’d love to hear how it works for you in the Comments box below! If the risk of burning it, by the way, during the broiling step frightens you, you can omit that step. It is rather a fancy, yet risky, step. Happy bread-baking!
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